Serves 3 to 4
Although this dish contains no fish, the eggplant is cooked in the same type of flavorings that are used in the highly savory yu xiang, or "fragrant fish sauce" of Sichuan province. This dish contains very little meat, and you can make it without any meat at all if you like. If your eggplant is Asian or garden-fresh, leave the skin on for added texture, otherwise peel it entirely or peel it in alternating strips. Omit the crushed red pepper for a less spicy version.
1. Wash the eggplant and trim off the stem. Leave the skin on if eggplant is Asian or very fresh and the skin tender. Otherwise, peel completely or in alternating strips. Quarter the eggplant lengthwise (or cut into eighths if large) and cut again into bite-size pieces. Place in a colander, sprinkle with salt, toss, and let stand for 20 minutes. Rinse, drain, and pat dry. If using Asian eggplant, cut into bite-size pieces. It is not necessary to salt or rinse Asian eggplant.
2. In a small dish, mix together 3 tablespoons of scallions, the ginger, garlic, and crushed red pepper. In another small dish, combine the hot bean sauce, vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce. In a medium bowl, whisk together the wine and 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Add the pork and mix well.
3. In a wok or stir-fry pan, heat the oil over high heat until hot but not smoking. Test by dipping a piece of eggplant into the oil; it should sizzle. Stir the eggplant into the hot oil. The eggplant will initially absorb all the oil but will release it as it cooks. Do not add more oil. Cook, stirring and pressing the eggplant against the bottom of the pan with the back of a spatula, until it is soft and turns dark, about 6 minutes. Stir up the pork mixture, add it to the pan, and cook, stirring, until the pork is no longer pink and separates. Add the scallion mixture and stir for 1 minute.
4. Add the bean sauce mixture and 1 cup water and stir to mix. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the cover and thicken the sauce with the cornstarch mixture. Transfer to a shallow platter and sprinkle with thinly sliced scallions. Serve immediately.
This page created July 2009
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